Merillat Classic vs. Kitchencraft? And size of vent hood?

k9fanNovember 6, 2011

Hi, I'm going to piggyback two kitchen questions in one here.

First, we are at the point where we've committed to a cabinet shop (paid a big deposit) and we need to place our order within the week. We are going semi-customized because we can't afford custom. This shop sells Merillat and Kitchencraft (and maybe others, but that's all we've looked at). Supposedly the Kitchencraft is 20% more than Merillat Classic, which is primarily what we've looked at. We are wondering if it's worth the boost in price.

Does anyone have any comments about these two brands in particular? We've looked for reviews on the web, and it seems that for every brand, there are "love it" and "hate it" reviews.

The picture below shows more or less what our kitchen will look like, except that I think we're going to ditch the glass fronts on the range-side cabinets, and the corner is going to have a TV shelf with a small cabinet above rather the corner cabinet now pictured. This is not our software, by the way -- it's the cabinet shop's rendering.

As a little bonus question: how important is it to have the vent hood for the range be 6" wider than the range? Both our architect and some people here have advised it, and I do a lot of stir frying. On the other hand, it looks a little bulky in the cabinet man's drawings. (The picture below is with a 30" hood for the 30" range; he hasn't yet sent me the version with the 36" hood.)

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Did you see qmarker's/Donna's post on her Merrilat cabinets? At least one of them is literally falling apart. I don't know if the Classic line is different from what Donna has in her condo, but whatever it is, a shelf has ripped loose from the side after just over a year. Before committing to a cabinet line, perhaps you ought to have a really good look at how the different parts are held together. If you don't know much about that sort of thing, perhaps you know someone who does who could come have a look with you.

Here is a link that might be useful: Merrilat cabinet failure

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 5:25PM
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Thanks Suzannesl,

We don't know anything about how cabinets are put together. I just took a look at that thread. It looks like we are still pending hearing how Donna's situation will come out. I think I remember reading somewhere that there are different lines of these cabinets for builders and big box stores than those that consumers buy directly. I wonder what line this is.

I guess one thing we need to ascertain before buying is exactly what warranty we will be getting with the cabinets. I seem to remember a mention of five years.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 5:41PM
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Don't know about either cab brand.

As to the hood, conventional wisdom says it should be 3" wider (6" total) on either side than the range/cooktop. Also, it should be at least 24" deep, although the 3" rule applies here also so 27" is ideal. These dimensions are especially important if you do a lot of high-powered cooking producing a lot of steam, smoke, grease, etc. What kind of range are you planning? Gas? How many BTUs? Thought about how many CFMs your hood needs to be?

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 5:45PM
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Kitchencraft has 2 lines, so I am not sue which you are comparing to. Merillat is a fairly basic builder grade cabinet, while Kitchencraft is used a lot more in remodeling due to more choices, and more semi custom modifications. Kitchencraft is also a frameless which means you will get more space in the cabinets.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 6:09PM
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hi susancf,
i ordered kitchencraft for my kitchen and bath remodel 6 years ago. i cannot speak to merrillat, but here is my experience living with kitchencraft and a few things that i would do differently. the first is, i would never order the kitchen craft alder in the shaker style door for my bathroom again. the doors are falling apart maybe because of the moisture or because of this particular wood and door style. anyway, the cabinet doors have not held up well in the bath, though the cabinet frames are fine (i went with all plywood sides here). for the kitchen, i have had a mostly good experience with the exception of one base cabinet drawer which has sagged, but this was due to moisture from my dishwasher venting out to the side of my cabinet (and me not ordering plywood sides for the kitchen cabs). my kitchen doors were maple and a non-shaker style and they have held up well, even though i am pretty rough on everything. HTH!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 7:01PM
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I can't comment on KC, but our contractor recommended Merillat Classic through one place he deals with but also mentioned he works with another family kitchen cabinet place and the brands they carried. My ears pricked up when he said that we would get the Merillat cabs in about ten days! I had them priced out but opted for Dynasty cabinets from the other place. The difference in price was less than $2000 and I just couldn't get past the question of quality with cabinets slapped together in ten days. I think we are getting a far superior cabinet with Dynasty. Reading here on GW at the time, the general consensus was that Merillat is builder grade. Shop around, I think you can do better than Merillat.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 10:09PM
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We just replaced Merrilat (not sure if classic) they were in the spec house we bought and did not hold up very well.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 12:02PM
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My mom put Kitchencraft in their new build in NC about 6 years ago. She loves them and has had no problems. She a particular glazed, cream finish in her mind and it was between Woodmode and KC. KC won out because of budget and the finish was so close anyway.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 12:25PM
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Thanks for the replies. We are leaning a bit away from Merillat now because it seems that several people have had bad experiences with their quality.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 1:51AM
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I realize this post is old, but in case others (like me) were searching on the cabinet names...

Merillat has multipe lines of cabinets: builder grade (Essentials) with a 5-year warranty, a higher grade (Classic) with a 25-year warranty, and a high-end line that costs about twice as much as the Classic called Masterpiece. My guess is that most of those who have Merillat in new homes have the builder grade ones and not the others.

We are considering the Classic with the delux upgrade option, but haven't decided.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 6:41PM
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